Spark MHK launching virtual hub

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Spark MHK is launching a new virtual resource hub.

In an effort to advance entrepreneurial activity and ignite innovation in the region, Spark MHK was created in July 2020. Sarah Siders, Spark Executive Director, says the organization is continuing to move forward and is now launching a one-stop-shop for all things entrepreneurship. She says with several tasks at hand such as centralizing resources and identifying programming needs in the community, the new virtual hub will create several opportunities.

“It allows us to centralize resources in a way that is 24/7 accessible,” Siders says. “It allows us to provide classes and cohorts through the planform. It allows us to host mentoring relationships and business advising relationships. It also has a CRN tool to track the metrics of the entrepreneurs that we are working with so we can follow up with them and identify as they grow and we can pull some really, really fantastic reports.”

Siders adds that they will also be able to target different groups throughout the community and with the use of metrics and tools they can understand what businesses are being supported. Daryn Soldan, Director of the Economic Development in Manhattan, says most private sector employers in MHK started as entrepreneurial ventures and with efforts like this from Spark, finding the next generation and helping them grow becomes easier.

“If someone is new to the community, if someone is looking for resources, if someone is looking for educational classes, or they are looking for ways to engage or find mentorship, or have questions answered, or whatever,” Soldan adds. “Figure out what to do next. Hopefully they become more efficient through that hub, that is Spark, and can connect with the appropriate resources.”

The Spark Virtual Hub will launch on April 26 and the first event through the hub will be “Beyond the SBA Loan: Capital Solutions You Need to Know About.” Siders talks more about the idea around the event.

“When someone doesn’t qualify for an SBA loan, or they don’t have significant friends or family around where they can raise a few hundred thousand dollars just from talking with people they know, what do people do? What’s the solution?”

Siders adds that the event is designed to educate current and future entrepreneurs about unique capital solutions for their business and will also feature resources from across the state.

“We are bringing in our SBDC so they can talk about the Capital Access Center where people can learn how to make the most of that conversation with a lender. We are also bringing in Network Kansas and Great Plains Development, and both of those organizations are serving entrepreneurs in really practical ways through great gap financing and a variety of loan products that, again, a lot of people just have not heard of,” Siders says.

The virtual event is set for Tuesday, April 27 at 4:30 PM. For more details visit sparkmhk.com.

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